Defamation cases posted before courts

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: : The Tamil Nadu Government has preferred nine criminal defamation complaints against leaders, including M. Karunanidhi, Murli Manohar Joshi, Ashok Singhal and Praveen Togadia, for their reported comments attributing motive to the arrests of the Kanchi Sankaracharyas.

While the four leaders, as also BJP legislator H. Raja, are facing one case each, columnist S. Gurumurthy has been arraigned in two defamation complaints. A defamation case has been registered against The Pioneer Editor, Chandan Mitra, and a correspondent of the daily, Anuradha Dutt.

All complaints have been lodged before Principal Sessions Judge P. Murugesan here by City Public Prosecutor T.V. Ganesh, on behalf of the State Government. All of them have been posted before III, V and VII Additional Sessions Courts. The complaints are identical and take exception to the utterances as reported in dailies in November and December 2004.

In the complaint against Mr. Karunanidhi, five dailies, including The Hindu , have been cited as witnesses.

The public prosecutor said that on November 22, 2004 the DMK leader "condemned the delayed arrest of the Sankaracharya" and "attributed a sinister motive to the Chief Minister." The comments were made to "deflect" the public attention from the Sankararaman murder case, the complainant said. "Certain remarks of the accused are irresponsible and fabricated."

The statements attributed with "ill-intention" a "political and personal motive to the Chief Minister," the public prosecutor said. According to reports published in dailies on November 22 last, Mr. Karunanidhi said the Sankaracharya had been arrested with an ulterior motive.

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